By Elizabeth Prata
I was born in December 1960. My first memory is when I was a few weeks past 3 years old, when the Beatles performed on Ed Sullivan Show on television in February 1964.
So I grew up in the turbulent 1960s. Day by day, week by week, year by long year, TV viewers were shown images of war, never before seen in such gruesome vitality. Live shooting in an incomprehensible jungle and a nightly count of the deaths and wounded solemnly intoned by Walter Cronkite. Other newsworthy scenes we were subjected to were of mayhem, marches, chaos, angry feminists, open homosexuals, riots, Kent State, constantly on the news and in newspapers, the only widespread sources at the time. Once, my mother asked my brother if he would go to Viet Nam as a soldier when he turned 18 or if he’d object and go to Canada. He was six. It felt like the war would last another 12 years until he turned of soldier age.
It truly seemed to me like the world was ending. It was certainly turning upside down. Everything stable we knew was suddenly looked at with suspicion- marriage, adult authority, the integrity of the Presidency, neighborliness… The popular mantra of the decade was “Never trust anyone over 30”. Marriage was looked as “square”, divorce was becoming easier to obtain, women were entering the workforce while disparaging homemaking, and other social structures were under attack. It took ten years for the progression of these institutions to begin to founder, and it still felt fast and unfathomable.
In January 2020 we greeted the New Year with the usual optimism and gusto. It wasn’t to last. By March the nation was under a “National Emergency” due to a pandemic and we were locked down for two weeks to “flatten the curve”. The curve never appeared but the lockdowns lasted. Since then, images across our screens of mayhem, protests, riots, civil unrest, fraudulent elections, mask-wearing became a national statement of morality, lockdowns, governmental hypocrisy, failing businesses, tyranny, increasing suicides, fractures and separated families… we end the year with our civil structures under attack. In the 1960s everything changed, but it took ten years. In 2020, everything changed, but it only took 10 months. It’s dizzying and disorienting. This time feels exactly like that time, except worse.
I don’t like it. I don’t like any of it. But I’m not called to like it or not like it. Temporal circumstances are just that. Temporal. Meaning, earthly and thus, temporary. This shall pass away. Or I shall pass away. In either case, the destruction/dissolution/judgment of the United States of America will happen. It could be happening now, or it will happen later when all the earth is burned up in a fervent heat and the new earth is then made.
Sisters, we are called to share the Gospel, encourage, persevere in season and out of season. It seems that in America at least, and other nations too, that the out of season is here. Americans been blessed for over 200 years with prosperity and freedom to worship, but that season may be winding down. We need to be prepared for this seasonal change. Remembering that our home is in heaven, our citizenship is with a better country, and our leader is the Sovereign of the Universe, eternal and everlasting.
I’d like to encourage you to ‘keep on keeping on’, as we oldies used to hear in the 1960s. Persevere, love one another, cling to Christ more tightly, be ready to make important decisions about your faith, your religious activities, and your worship.
Let’s go back to basics: Why are we here on this earth?
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 1
Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God,1 and to enjoy him forever.
1 Corinthians 10:31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Romans 11:36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Psalm 73:24-26. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
John 17:22, 24. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one… Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 2
Q: What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A: The word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.
Galatians 1:8-9. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Isaiah 8:20. To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Luke 16:29, 31. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them… And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
2 Timothy 3:15-17. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.